The big question surrounding the Phillies’ leadoff spot has been answered, at least for opening day. Ben Revere will bat first and play center field against Tim Hudson and the Braves (see game notes).
Jimmy Rollins, a leadoff batter in 77 percent of his major-league games, bats second.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who didn’t play together until the Phillies’ 85th game last season, follow at three and four. Michael Young gets the nod as Howard’s protector in the five-hole.
John Mayberry, a right-handed hitter, is starting in right field against the right-handed Hudson. It could be a sign that Charlie Manuel is valuing Mayberry’s defense over Laynce Nix’s platoon splits vs. righties. Nix has a .447 career slugging percentage against opposite-handed pitching. Mayberry is a career .232 hitter with a .302 on-base percentage against righties, though he has good numbers in a small sample vs. Hudson.
Here is a look at the Phils’ lineup:
Ben Revere, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B (.338 BA, 7 HR vs. Hudson)
Michael Young, 3B
Domonic Brown, LF (first opening day start)
John Mayberry, RF (4-for-13, two homers, four walks vs. Hudson)
Erik Kratz, C
Cole Hamels, P
And for the Braves ...
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Jason Heyward, RF
Justin Upton, LF (Braves debut)
Freddie Freeman, 1B
B.J. Upton, CF (Braves debut)
Dan Uggla, 2B
Chris Johnson, 3B (Braves debut)
Gerald Laird, C (starting in place of injured Brian McCann)
Tim Hudson, P
This series could be an opportunity for the Phillies to wreak havoc on the bases. Laird was excellent at nabbing base-stealers from 2003-10, but in the last two seasons has thrown out just 14 of 72 for a success rate of 19 percent.